The Sum Of All Fears

August 17, 2011 | Erich Hawbaker

I had a terrible thought the other day. After reading all about Carlos Zambrano’s latest meltdown and the talk of the Cubs looking for a way to unload him without paying him the rest of his ridiculous contract, it hit me. Could we see Zambrano in an Orioles uniform in the near future? It was one of those random epiphanies that just jumps into your head and takes you by surprise. But the more I think about it, the more afraid I get that it might actually happen.

During the tenure of Andy MacPhail and a little before that, the Orioles have had a peculiar habit of snapping up the Cubs’ rejects; Sammy Sosa, Rich Hill, Felix Pie, Derrek Lee. All of them were guys that MacPhail handled while he was running the Cubs, and all (except Sosa, who came here before Andy did) were supposedly proven major league material he brought here to make the Orioles better. NONE OF THEM even came close to meeting that expectation. Granted, the ex-Cubs wing is only a part of the Orioles Rest & Retirement Home For Aged Transient Big-Name Free Agents, but I digress. MacPhail’s track record when bringing in players from teams he worked with previously has been nothing short of disasterous. And having observed Zambrano firsthand while running the Cubs, would he be more likely to take a chance on him if the oppurtunity presented itself?  

Carlos Zambrano is the Terrell Owens of baseball; there’s no question that he has a lot of talent, but it is eclipsed by his inability to control his temper and get along with his teammates. But if the Cubs do indeed cut him loose, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll never pitch in the majors again at just 30 years of age. Could he be the next household name that the front office signs in their continuing attempt to convince us fans that they’re trying to win? Make no mistake, Zambrano is a bull in a china shop much like Albert Belle was. And for some reason, I have a very clear picture in my head of Jim Hunter and Rick Dempsey sitting behind the desk and explaining why this is a tremendous pickup for the Orioles and just what they need to start turning things around. King Peter’s propaganda machine rivals that of Fidel Castro.

Maybe I’m completely off my rocker on this one, and maybe I’m not. What do you think? Comments and discussion are much appreciated.